PROJECT PROPOSAL - Series of textile art installations and sculptures - Recycled Denim and Leather

1.  Basic Information
Name: Ekaterina Akuma
Address: 98 Morningside Avenue, NY, New York, 10027
Email: akuma@fashionandchange.com
Website: www.gianosta.com
www.fashionandchange.com

2.  Letter of Intent

What is your proposed project?  

A series of textile art installations and sculptures created out of discarded clothes (specifically leather and denim jackets)

State the goal of the project and how you intend to achieve it.

My goal is to remind the viewer that while recycling is necessary to sustain our planet’s resources, it is equally valid as a creative and innovative approach and subject matter in the visual arts. Denim and leather clothes are often discarded when their potential lifetime is not yet over. I would like to look at the possibility of extending the lifecycle of discarded clothes and highlight their true value. I will use second hand denim and leather jackets and fabric waste that will be donated by denim/leather companies in the US.

What is your artistic vision/goal for your project?

3 Large Panels - Size (m): 4.50 x 1.60 (Denim)
2 Large Panels - Size (m): 4.50 x 2.50 (Leather)
3-4 Sculptures - Size (m): 2.60
Collection of 10 upcycled denim/ leather jackets

Inspiration bellow:

  1. Derek Melander 2. Orly Genger

How does your project work within the community?

I aim to empower women in the Bronx community by teaching them how to upcycle discarded fabric waste into versatile products. The main outcome of the project is to provide women of the Bronx community the skills necessary to acquire fair paying jobs and give them credit for their work by sharing their stories/names with each jacket that they worked on.

Will the project be realized in the course of a year? The project time line is estimated to be 1-1.5 years.

Who will you be working with (children, seniors, adults) and how will you be working with them? I will be working with women (adults+seniors) in small group workshops on upcycling denim and leather jackets which will be used for the art installation and the collection of upcycled jackets . I would like to focus on two areas including natural dyes and block printing.

WORKSHOP I: NATURAL DYES

I will take the participants through the steps to create sustainable dyed textiles. My goal is to ensure that clothing materials and production methods are rooted in sustainability. I will offer insight into my own in-studio processes and demonstrate how to get the most from a range of dyes and fabrics. Participants will obtain a good technical understanding of the coloring  processes and the varied uses of such dyes as indigo, cochineal, madder and many others . 

WORKSHOP II: BLOCK PRINTING

In this workshop participants will further explore their knowledge of printing techniques through the use of wood cut block. Participants will be shown how to cut an image into the wood,print it and develop print using different techniques.

The techniques of this printmaking process is entirely water based and nontoxic, similar to a printed watercolor. Since workshop is done by hand, no printing press is required, and all the items for this process are relatively compatible which a limited working space.

Volunteerism history:

Parsons Design Fellowship - Traveled to Haiti with Donna Karan’s Urban Zen. Based at the Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T) in Port-au-Prince, I worked closely with Haitian artisans to design and develop a Naturally Haiti collection for the Urban Zen collection using locally-sourced materials and following the traditional artistic practices of the community. I conducted several workshops, where local artisans and had a chance to learn natural dying, rust dying and printing techniques.

Denim Day New York

I worked on collaborative recycled denim capsule collection for Denim Day NYC Campaign
(Raising Awareness for the Battle to End Sexual and Domestic Violence ) with
visual artists/designers Fabiola Jean-Louis, Chantel Valentene, Monica Watkins, Jerry Chu and Butch Diva along with design students Alex Lora, Anna Schwab and Hazel Cetemen of City-As School. My role was to teach design students sewing and recycling skills and to secure fabric/materials donations.

Textile Installation for The Color of Freedom - Keep the Girls Safe Campaign

I worked on 6 large textile art panels (recycled and naturally dyed fabric) - for the Keep the Girls Safe Campaign to help raise funds and awareness for the fight to end sex-trafficking domestically and abroad.

3.  Work Samples - Please see Portfolio

4.  Curriculum Vitae - Please see under section About

5.  References

Monica Watkins - Executive Director of a non-profit organization Beauty for Freedom - Worked with Monica on numerous art and textile projects.
Hazel Clark - Professor of Design Studies & Fashion Studies & Research Chair of Fashion - Parsons School of Design. Worked on research in Sustainable Fashion for Hazel Clark’s book.
Kevin Salyers - Executive Vice President, Urban Zen - Worked directly with him on Art and Design pieces for Urban Zan

















 










 




WORKSHOP PROPOSAL 

The "Zen Scarf Workshop" is consisting of two workshops that are designed  specifically to preserve community relationships. One workshop will specialize on the wood cut panels/blocks for the textile printing, another on natural dye process.






WORKSHOP I: NATURAL DYES

Natural dyes can offer not only a rich and varied source of dyestuff, but also the possibility of an income through sustainable harvest and sale of these dye plants. Many dyes are available from tree waste or can be easily grown in market gardens. In areas where synthetic dyes, mordants (fixatives) and other additives are imported and therefore relatively expensive, natural dyes can offer an attractive alternative.

The first stage stands out as experimental research. A second stage includes workshop in which traditional dyeing techniques are adapted to contemporary conditions and to the spaces and raw materials that artists  have access to in Haiti. I will take the artisans through the steps to create sustainable dyed textiles, using only locally sourced natural materials.

My goals are to ensure that clothing materials and production methods are rooted in sustainability and the end product is comfortable, and highly versatile. I would like to immerse myself in culture and work side by side with a  Haitian artists where each member is dedicated to environmental, cultural and community sustainability.  

  • In addition I will offer an insight into my own in-studio processes and demonstrate how to get the most from a range of dyes and fabrics. Participants will obtain a good technical understanding of the coloring  processes and the varied uses of such dyes as indigo, cochineal, madder, fustic, and many others . The full spectrum of more than 20 rich colors dyed in workshop will form a source book for artists. These books are a great inspiration and reference for years to come. 

 Possible sources: Sandalwood, Fustic Wood, Marigold







The process calls for:

  • Participants are not exposed to hazardous chemicals, whether in the air at the working space or in the water surrounding local communities.

  • Process is rooted in a respect for cultural identity and a commitment to the environmental sustainability and community.

  • Participants are encourage to be entrepreneurial.

  • Reducing toxins in dyes and chemicals, meaning there's less to clean up in wastewater. Mills save resources; they need less water and energy, which is not only good for the environment, it reduces costs.






WORKSHOP II: WOOD CUT PRINTING WITH NATURAL DYES 

  • In this workshop, artisans will further explore their knowledge of printing techniques through the use of natural dye. Using wood cut block printing techniques, artisans will focus on building their knowledge of using natural dyes for surface design. Participants will be shown how to cut an image into the wood,print it and develop print using different techniques.

  • The techniques of this printmaking process is entirely water based and nontoxic, similar to a printed watercolor. This medium of printmaking is attractive for the Haiti project since it require a small variety of hand tools.

  • Since workshop is done by hand, no printing press is required, and all the items for this process are relatively compatible which is a strong point for the participant with limited working space.

  • I am planning to bring small wood cut blocks examples in order to demonstrate the possibilities for the printing.






Although appearing to be quite simple, the skills involved are quite sophisticated; every subtle variation in technique can affect the final look of the print. Wide ranges of effects in imagery and style can result, from pictorially realistic to distortedly expressionistic, to totally abstract. Print designs can be very simple, spontaneous and immediate, or very complex, carefully developed, precise and intricate. The conceptualization of the print can evolve over time, through experimental test printing, addition and subtraction of details and shapes, use of various papers,exploring color schemes; the carving, the way the blocks interrelate, the manner in which the printing is done, etc.; all of these influences contribute to the look of a woodblock print, all dependent upon the intent and skill of the artist.